Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
April 30
Epicede
By Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
 
          In memory of James Lorimer Graham. Died April 30, 1876.

LIFE may give for love to death
  Little; what are life’s gifts worth
  To the dead wrapt round with earth
Yet from lips of living breath
  Sighs or words we are fain to give,        5
  All that yet, while yet we live,
Life may give for love to death.
 
Dead so long before his day,
  Passed out of the Italian sun
  To the dark where all is done,        10
Fallen upon the verge of May,
  Here at life’s and April’s end
  How should song salute my friend
Dead so long before his day?
 
Not a kindlier life or sweeter        15
  Time, that lights and quenches men,
  Now may quench or light again,
Mingling with the mystic metre
  Woven of all men’s lives with his
  Not a clearer note that this,        20
Not a kindlier life or sweeter.
 
In this heavenliest part of earth
  He that living loved the light,
  Light and song, may rest aright.
One in death if strange in birth,        25
  With the deathless dead that make
  Life the lovelier for their sake
In this heavenliest part of earth.
 
Light, and song, and sleep at last—
  Struggling hands and suppliant knees        30
  Get no goodlier gift than these.
Song that holds remembrance fast,
  Light that lightens death, attend
  Round their graves who have to friend
Light and song, and sleep at last.        35
 
 
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